For many ex-inmates in Arizona, the best way to find employment is to use a job placement for felons in Arizona agency. Many church-based and non-profit organizations work with businesses to find job placement for ex-felons to enable them to start afresh after prison. Ex-felons can find work in traditional ways such as:
- Responding to newspaper advertisements
- Calling or visiting companies directly
- Searching job boards on the Internet
- Networking is an effective means of finding work for former felons. Church members for example may be able to find employment in their churches or with non-profits that their churches operate.
Some of the main sources for job placement and employment leads in Arizona are:
- The National Hire Network (http://www.hirenetwork.org/content/arizona): This nationwide organization helps former prisoners find employment in many industries. This is one of the most popular resources for former felons.
- America Works (http://www.americaworks.com/): This organization helps with job placement for those who have problems finding employment. It works with ex-inmates across the country and not just in specific states.
- The Next Step (https://www.thenextstep99.com/): This site states that it brings together felon-friendly employers with recently released ex-prisoners. This is also the same group that manages CoFFE (Cooperative of Felon Friendly Employers).
Felon-friendly employers can also help with job placement for ex-inmates. Some of these companies will employ ex-convicts for the tax credit they get under the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) (http://www.doleta.gov/business/incentives/opptax/) initiative.
Many companies that employ part-time workers rarely do background checks. As such, this is one way for many ex-convicts to find employment after leaving prison. To prevent disappointment, ex-felons should ideally avoid applying for jobs that they know their criminal history will bar them from getting.
Finally, many former prisoners have valuable skills that they can use to start their own business. Finding help to do this is relatively easy as many organizations offer courses, both in person and online. The Internet is a good place to start looking for this kind of help. The Small Business Association (http://www.sba.gov/) is a great source of information for those operating or planning to start a small business.
Arizona, like some other states also has a few grants that ex-felons can apply for to help them get the training and education they need to start a business. Other useful grants for ex-felons can be found on the Big How website (http://bighow.net/2440872-Grants_for_Ex_Felons_in_Arizona.html).
Tips for Finding Housing for Felons in Arizona
It is difficult for most ex-convicts to finding suitable housing once they are free. Many landlords are unwilling to take a chance on these former prisoners. While some may be willing to do so other tenants may not approve of having ex-felons living in the same building. Some housing possibilities for ex-felons include:
- Section 8 Housing (http://homeguides.sfgate.com/criminal-history-policy-low-income-housing-8476.html) : Ex-felons who have been charged with methamphetamine production in federally subsidized housing or who are sex offenders, are barred from benefiting under this program.
- Arizona HUD Grants (http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/public_indian_housing/programs/ph): While difficult, some former felons may be able to benefit from this program. However, those with charges for sexual offenses violent crimes and some types of drug offense will not be considered for HUD grants.
- Private homeowners: Some ex-felons are more likely to rent property from individuals as opposed to property management companies. This is especially so if the property is a single occupancy house.
Types of Programs for Felons in Arizona
Ex-felons in Arizona are able to access a number of programs to help them reintegrate into society. Some programs worth exploring for housing and job placement help in Arizona are:
- Arizona 2-1-1 (http://www.mycommunitypt.com/arizona/index.php?option=com_cpx&task=search.query&code=ND-6500.1950): This program has many initiatives to aid ex-prisoners on their journey back into society. Some initiatives such as BOSS Ex-Offender Services offers work clothing for both men and women to wear to interviews, and it also helps with job placement. They are a bi-lingual operations so former convicts who primarily speak Spanish can go to them for help.
- South West Network (http://www.southwestnetwork.org/nt19rg/result.asp?engSearch=63): This website list a number of useful resources that has useful information for felons.
- CoFFE (Cooperative of Felon Friendly Employers) (https://www.thenextstep99.com/): This is a popular site for information of use to ex-felons seeking job placements.
- Xamire.com (https://www.thenextstep99.com/): This is a felon-friendly site that has a discussion board that allows ex-inmates to talk to each other and offer support. The information and resources offered include state specific resources for ex-felons.
- Church-based organizations: Many churches have programs that will help ex-inmates find their way after being released from prison. Some churches have transitional housing programs, soup kitchens or training and mentoring programs.
Despite the difficulties that many ex-felons face when looking for work or a place to live, turning to some of the organizations named above will make things a little easier. It may not be simple, but it is not impossible to make a new start on the outside.